Another trailer today, but from a completely different country and genre. Korean director Kim Ji-woon first caught my attention with The Foul King, the hilarious Korean wrestling comedy he made about 8 years ago. I never saw his first picture The Quiet Family, only the manic Takashi Miike remake/rip off Happiness of the Katakuris. A Tale of Two Sisters was a big crossover hit for Kim, getting in just before the end of the Asian horror boom, but I was not fond of it.
What I was fond of was his last film, A Bittersweet Life. Teaming up with charismatic star Lee Byung Hyun*, but interestingly getting him to perform as coldly as possible, the film reminded me of Melville’s collaborations with ice cold Alain Delon. John Woo had attempted this before with Chow Yun Fat, and I love those pictures too, but Chow Yun Fat is too round and loveable to be as artic as that style of picture needs. Chan Wook Park’s success closer to home with exaggerated noir must have had an effect too. A Bittersweet Life was probably my favourite crime film of 2005, but it was unfortunately and unjustly overshadowed internationally by Johnnie To’s Election.
Now, after an 8 year break, Kim Ji-woon is back with The Good, The Bad and The Weird, a terrible title for what looks an interesting movie. In case the title didn’t give it all away, this picture is a revisionist Western, taking place in occupied China during the 1930s. Jung Woo-sung from the popular historical epic Musa plays the Good, Lee Byung-Hyun plays the eye-liner wearing, dandy Bad, and the Foul King himself Song Kang-ho certainly seems to be playing the Weird. Naturally, being in occupied China, the men cross paths with the occupying Japanese army, as well as each other. Lee Byung Hyun in particular seems to bring to mind Tatsuya Nakaidai’s dandy villain in Yojimbo, with his Western finery, as well as Stagecoach‘s Hatfield, played by John Carradine.
You can watch away at Twitch at the the link below
The film looks exciting and action packed, but at a sad cost. Twitch reported this week that a stunt man had died in the production of the film, and that the producers were not talking about it out of worry that it might negatively effect the picture.
*Lee Byung Hyun is going to be all over multiplexes soon, after filming his part as the ninja Storm Shadow in Stephen Sommers’ sure to be awful G.I Joe film. If you want to see him in something decent, please start with A Bittersweet Life and work backwards to JSA.